Are you one of the many lucky humans who have experienced the unconditional love and devotion of a great dog?
I have loved many dogs in my life. It is always a heart-wrenching experience when the time comes to say “goodbye.” However, the beauty of the human-animal bond is that after the grief fades, the wonderful memories of the relationship remain.
Thinking about those memories, I decided to craft the ultimate list of activities I would like to experience with my dogs during their lifetime. Life is short. A dog’s life is even shorter. So grab the gusto of each day, starting now — try some of the following 99 amazing activities with your dog.
1. Cross-Country Road Trip
In 1960 the famous author John Steinbeck embarked on a trip to experience America before he died. Steinbeck left Long Island, New York, in a pickup and camper with his standard French poodle Charley.
The two drove to Maine and across to the Pacific Northwest, down to California, across Texas, threading through the Deep South and back to New York. The entire trip involved more than 10,000 miles of driving, and Steinbeck chronicled their adventures in one of his best-selling novels, Travels With Charley.
Perhaps such an ambitious case of wanderlust is not in the immediate future for you and your fur friend, but any road trip with your dog provides the opportunity for an amazing adventure.
2. Swim With Dolphins
The spectacle and majesty of these waterborne mammals have long romanced humans. It is no surprise that swimming with dolphins is another ultimate dog activity.
It is the viral video of Kira, the black Lab from Mozambique, featuring her enthusiasm for swimming with the dolphins, that prompts adding this experience to this dog bucket list. Remember, four paws are no match for flippers and fins; notice that Kira dons a life vest before her plunge.
If you (and your dog) prefer a more Zen existence, try doga — which is yoga doggie style. The practice was developed by professional yoga instructor Suzi Teitleman, who designed yoga poses that allow dogs to fully participate. She notes, “Dogs come with so much yoga built in — their unconditional love, their ability to be in the present moment, their patience.” According to Teitleman, dogs are the ultimate yogi. Namaste!
4. Learn to Dance
Oh the joy of the dance. It really doesn’t matter if you are technically inclined or rhythmically challenged; the bliss is the abandon of inhibition. The activity is growing by leaps and bounds. Many communities offer doggie dance classes. So bust a move and groove to the beat!
You may discover that you’re another Carolyn Scott with Rookie, whose delightful Grease dance routine is sometimes better remembered than the rendition in the movie itself.
One of top 10 items on any bucket list is skydiving. Humans are intrigued to feel the rush of free-falling from an airplane at 10,000 or so feet and then catching the fall with the pull of a rip cord and the deployment of a thin, silk parachute. According to people who skydive with their flying pooches, the dogs love it as well.
Wonder what the canine translation of “Jeronomooooooooo!” sounds like?
6. Take a Cruise
Ahoy, matey! At least one transoceanic liner rolls out the gangplank for pooches. Cunard offers the ultimate pet cruise with all the style and entertainment afforded to human guests. A kennel master ensures that your pet’s every need is attended to. The liner provides cushy beds, supervised playrooms, gift bags, pet name badges and a gift portrait.
7. Visit a Few Pet-Friendly National Parks
What goes together better than a dog and a park? Nothing! Plan to visit at least five pet-friendly national parks during your dog’s lifetime. From coast to coast, some of the best include:
- Acadia National Park, Maine
- Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
- Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
- Redwood National Park, California
8. Experience the Greatest Dog Show on Earth
Most bucket lists include attending a mega championship event of passion: Super Bowl, World Series, Masters, Kentucky Derby, World Cup, Olympics. For dogs, that pinnacle of canine competitive events is the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
It is no surprise that the award-winning, pet-friendly New York Pennsylvania Hotel is named the host hotel for the big event. With everything from fire hydrant potty stations and a doggie concierge to the relaxing S’paw and Paw Mall, the pageantry of the event promises a once-in-a-lifetime experience — even if your dog can’t get a ticket to the big show itself. (Service dogs, like Addisen pictured above at Westminster 2013, are allowed in by law.)
9. Watch the Puppy Bowl
You need not be a diehard football fan to appreciate the antics of the superstar players who take the field in the Puppy Bowl. The event is televised annually on Super Bowl Sunday and features shelter puppies in a mock version of the famous football championship game. The dogs play “football” inside a miniature stadium, and the play-by-play action is broadcast on Animal Planet.
About 70 puppies are involved in filming the show over three days. The best part of the Puppy Bowl isn’t the hedgehog cheerleaders, the kitty halftime show or even a big trophy. It’s the national attention to the many shelter puppies available for adoption. You and your pigskin pooch will love this game-day action.